Top 5 Best Places to Hike in Japan

Japan, a land rich in both cultural heritage and natural beauty, offers some of the most breathtaking hiking trails in the world. From the iconic slopes of Mount Fuji to the sacred paths of ancient pilgrimages, each trail promises a unique blend of physical challenge and spiritual tranquility. In this journey through Japan’s top hiking destinations, we also take a brief detour to Europe’s legendary Tour du Mont Blanc, offering a glimpse into the Alpine hiking experience.

picture by Guilhem Vellut

1. Mount Fuji, Honshu

No list of Japanese hikes could begin without Mount Fuji, the nation’s tallest and most iconic mountain. Revered for centuries, this 3,776-meter giant offers several routes to the summit, catering to various skill levels. The Yoshida Trail is the most popular, bustling with hikers during the official climbing season in July and August. The ascent, filled with breathtaking views and spiritual shrines, is more than a hike; it’s a pilgrimage into the heart of Japanese culture.

picture by Mathias Erhart

2. Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage, Kii Peninsula

The Kumano Kodo is a network of ancient pilgrimage routes crisscrossing the Kii Peninsula. This UNESCO World Heritage site takes hikers through mystical forests, across mountainous terrain, and to grand shrines such as Kumano Hongu Taisha. The experience is as much about spiritual journeying as it is about physical trekking, offering a profound glimpse into Japan’s religious traditions and natural splendor.

picture by Simon Desmarais

3. Shikoku Henro, Shikoku

The Shikoku Pilgrimage is a 1,200-kilometer loop around Shikoku Island, linking 88 Buddhist temples. This trail is not just a hike; it’s a journey through Japanese religious history, taking pilgrims through rural landscapes, mountain paths, and small, welcoming towns. Each step on this path offers a chance for self-reflection and exploration, both internal and external.

picture by Big Ben in Japan

4. Nakasendo Trail, Kiso Valley

The Nakasendo Trail, once a bustling trade route linking Kyoto and Tokyo during the Edo period, is now a serene journey through time. The trail is famous for its well-preserved post towns like Magome and Tsumago, where wooden inns offer a glimpse into Japan’s past. This route combines easy hiking with historical exploration, making it perfect for those who enjoy a side of culture with their nature.

picture by skyseeker

5. Japanese Alps, Central Honshu

The Japanese Alps, divided into the Northern, Central, and Southern ranges, offer a variety of trails that range from leisurely walks to challenging mountain ascents. Routes like the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route unveil stunning alpine scenery, complete with snow-capped peaks, deep valleys, and lush flora. For the ambitious hiker, scaling peaks like Mount Hotaka offers a thrilling challenge amidst some of Japan’s most striking landscapes.

A Glimpse of Europe: The Tour du Mont Blanc

While Japan’s trails offer unique experiences blending culture and nature, Europe’s Tour du Mont Blanc presents a different kind of hiking adventure. This famous trail circles the Mont Blanc massif, traversing 170 kilometers through France, Italy, and Switzerland. It’s a journey through diverse alpine landscapes, offering panoramic views, challenging climbs, and a blend of European cultures. Hikers on this trail experience the grandeur of

the Alps, with its towering peaks, glacial valleys, and picturesque meadows. The Tour du Mont Blanc, much like the trails in Japan, is more than a physical challenge; it’s an exploration of natural beauty and cultural richness. However, unlike the spiritual and historical paths of Japan, it offers a more rugged, wilderness experience, highlighting the contrasting appeals of hiking in different parts of the world.


Japan’s hiking trails are more than just routes across the landscape; they are journeys through history, culture, and spiritual awakening. Whether scaling the sacred slopes of Mount Fuji or walking the historic Nakasendo Trail, each path offers a unique window into the soul of Japan. In contrast, the Tour du Mont Blanc in Europe offers an alpine adventure that immerses hikers in the raw beauty of nature and the diversity of European culture. Together, these trails remind us that hiking is not just a physical activity but a gateway to understanding the world’s varied landscapes and rich cultural tapestries. Whether in the tranquil forests of Japan or the majestic Alps of Europe, each step taken is a step towards greater discovery and connection.


I’m Ren Nakamura, a native of Japan and an explorer at heart. My passion lies in unveiling the intricate blend of tradition and innovation that defines Japanese culture. From the dynamic world of anime and games to the rich tapestry of arts and the culinary delights of my homeland, I strive to bring you captivating tales and insights. Join me as we delve into the enchanting world of Japan, one story at a time. Wanna know more about me ?